I know we are now pretty much two months behind the 'first adopters' out there but we've finally achieved full 300 pointage (yes I know, 400...) with John picking up his own box at a toystore sale. The glorious inauguration of the full Armada experience was held at Ben's place at Rolle-Vegas. In one corner: John/Doddonna's Rebels and in the other: My Evil Empire. Not much to my list. I took Admiral Motti, since we know what the card does and he was the cheapest. I then took 10 TIEs plus Howlrunner, Two Victory IIs and the defence Liaison on the flag-ship. This gave me initiative vs the dirty Rebels. One of the objective cards John had taken was "Most Wanted", so it was all on.
In proper Armada, the player with the lowest amount of points automatically gets to choose between going first each round or going second but selecting from amongst the three objectives your opponent has gone with. It's a good system. I think John's theory was the bonus dice worked out more useful overall as he had more ships. On the other hand though, one of the above four not-very-sturdy-or-durable specimens now was worth bonus VP when I killed it. He got those four ships (best variant of each), four X-Wings and Luke.
As all Imperial Admirals will no doubt be doing until we either get Gladiators or Raiders, I deployed in the corner. Another thing I like about full-Armada is it is a 6'x3' board but the setup area is 4'x3'. My plan was simple: Second Victory on the 'inside track', cloud of TIEs in the Rebels' face and then the command/objective Victory is behind the first to both survive and really extend our arcs of fire vs flanking ships. The mission condition was the objective ships (not including upgrades) were worth double VP but all enemy ships get +1 dice when shooting at it.
Seeing our first moves, Ben was moved to comment that surely 7 turns would be required. I found his lack of faith.....disturbing.
I will admit, the vector those Frigates were taking was a surprise to me, I'd be inclined to just point them at the Star Destroyers and close to firing range ready to then creep forward at speed 1. If he'd done that, then potentially they could have been throwing 5 red dice (when adding focus fire) at the objective ship. At long range, assuming I have no accuracy results, he also gets to choose on of my dice AFTER I roll it, and discard it.
The first act of the engagement was a whole lot of TIEs locking down the lead X-Wings. Doddonna/John prepared to rake them with fire from an escort frigate but this was halved by the most usefully positioned asteroid I have ever seen.
Meanwhile, John's 'Asteroid runners' attempted to navigate the debris all around them. This further broke up his approach; and set the scene for a Rebel fleet advancing line-ahead, round my flank.
My Star destroyers were not going to get into that mess before they had to. The lead Victory began to soften up the rebel ships as they came on.
TIEs even got in on the act. I had so many that even with over half a dozen working on Luke and pals, I had spares. They may throw one blue die and not get to use crits but I am a one-time Soviets player and everything counts in large amounts.
The Imperial plan seems to be working. I am not getting much shots on the rebels by turn three. On the other hand, they have barely scratched the paint on the glorious symbols of Imperial dominance.
In the middle, three X-Wing stands faced off against seven stands of TIES, and immediately gained the upper hand. Howlrunner went down to combined fire and then one by one the TIEs began to fall.
Like I said though, I have spares.
I've wondered this before: How does this happen? How do Nebulon B's end up side on to Victory class Star Destroyers? The Rebels were rounding my lead ship like the buoy at some yacht race. This gave my forward arcs plenty of shots. On the other hand, the you shoot first in this game, so each ship got a full lot of front-on shots at me then moved forward to make space for the next one. So perhaps there was something to this strategy. They were through the paint and now my Star Destroyer was taking crits. First up was one stopping me from readying defence tokens. I repaired that but then got one halving my engineering value. By the end of turn five it had taken seven hull points of damage. It was so close... except for the fact Admiral Motti (safe on the rear ship) gave two extra hull points!
The lead Corvette, trailing flames made it to the repair station. There, silhouetted against the backdrop of the space-station, it died to broadside fire from Motti's flagship.
The Rebel flagship (and my objective) had used it's first move advantage to effectively double-move past my lead Star destroyer. However, it had rear cannons. Die rebel Scum.
What a shame, we finished on turn 6 so Motti never had to enter the asteroid field. No Rebel fighter ever got to do a torpedo run either. Dozens of TIE pilots did not give their lives in vain today.
A pretty goo demonstration of Imperial Strengths. Both Victory's alive (just), about eight TIEs dead including Howrunner. Vs a Rebel Corvette and a Rebel Frigate (worth double points) and about one X-Wing killed. Thanks John, it was a really fun first game at the 'full game' level. At this point I remain convinced the Victory is the best ship in the game at the moment. It has it's weak points but it's strong points are easy to take advantage of. Two together, to extend out their arcs of threat, was a real joy to witness. I am pretty apprehensive about taking that on when the rest of the next lot of Rebel stuff arrive for me.